Polytechnics Canada’s members and like-minded colleges across Canada are enablers of small business, providing cost-effective and timely solutions for firms that lack in-house R&D. We are “innovation intermediaries” guided by a desire to expose our students to hands-on applied research experiences in most of our programs. Of the six suggestions that we offer in this submission, the two main recommendations for consideration by the Panel are:
- Foster more effective collaboration between all post-secondary institutions (universities and colleges) in federally funded industry-facing research projects and conduct coordinated marketing and outreach to educate industry about academic-business collaboration.
- Open up Tri-Council industrial internship and summer employment programs to college students and graduates – level the playing field and increase the talent pool industry can select from.
The small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) we serve tell us our late-stage commercialization services have allowed them to grow through the recession, remain competitive, increase their capacity and hire more employees at a time when many of their peers were closing their doors and shedding jobs. The output measures that we have developed for commercialization can help the federal government to more accurately track productivity outcomes for federal spending on R&D support.
The intention of our recommendations for changes to federal programs is to encourage SMEs to consider partnering with a college or polytechnic to invest in innovation and R&D to increase the global competitiveness of their firms.